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A Conversation With ... Wade Cunningham, Charlie Kimball and James Hinchcliffe

MODERATOR: Like many of you, I've been around racing a long time, and sometimes it takes a little bit longer to discuss the race than it did to actually run it. They're going through all of it and these are two gentlemen who just ran tremendous races, Charlie Kimball and James Hinchcliffe. Charlie, you're the closest, it looked like -- first of all, congratulations, a great race and clearly in terms of entertainment value, one of the best we've had here in Indianapolis.

CHARLIE KIMBALL: Yeah, it was pretty solid all the way through. The weather sort of being a little cooler lent itself to a little more grip, and I think that lent itself to some closer racing. I had a good start. Went to the lead early just to see what my car was going to be like in clean air and then sort of backed off and let Wade run by to see if the two of us could make it a two-car race out front. Then after the yellow, made sure I got a good restart, ran clean. At some points I got shuffled back, I think as far as fourth or fifth, but was just saving the car, working the tools. The 26 Levemir FlexPen car started a little tight and from there I was chasing it all day. I think James can attest to what I had to do in the corners to get the thing to do. I was down on the grass a couple of times and when you're down that low it's a bit of a ride but it was what I had to do to run with Wade. Those last three laps, the car just wasn't quite there, but I gave it all it had.

I've got to give a lot of credit to the guys I was racing with; I mean Wade Cunningham ran clean pretty much all day. His experience really paid off as far as early in the race, managing car, lifting at the right spots so I couldn't get a run. James, I don't know how he could run that high and I'm sure he doesn't know how I could run that low. We ran side by side a through the corners a couple of times. It was clean and all credit to everyone out there. I don't know what it looked like from outside, it sure was a great show in the car.

MODERATOR: It was indeed. James, this discussion of Charlie going in the grass, was this the part of the conversation over here that involved the word, "Dude"?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Dude, it was unbelievable. (Laughter) When you think how fast we're going through these corners and how on edge these cars are, the fact that he was putting it in the grass over the rumble strips, I'm way up here thinking, "What is he doing down there?" but he was making it work. He ran a really good race, so credit to him.

MODERATOR: But on the same token, you were also, as he noted, running a higher line than most of the rest of the field.

HINCHCLIFFE: Yeah. Well, starting eighth, we knew that we were going to have to get by some guys, so we just sort of knew that we were going to have to have a good car on the high side because guys were going to block the inside. To come from eighth right up to second place pretty early in the race, you know, we had a rocket ship of a car. So huge thanks to Lee Dikstra and the whole TMR crew. It was a lot of fun out there.
Like Charlie said, I hope it was a good race from the outside because in the cars it was wicked. We ran up with Wade there and then we sort of got thrown a curve ball with J.K. coming out of the pits a bunch of laps down. A bit unnecessary because he ended up sort of costing me, he stole the air off the front of my car one lap and I thought I was going into the exit of Turn One, had to lift and gear down and that's when Charlie got by.
It's unfortunate that that happened but we remember these things, it's a long season. (Laughter) It's cool. For us to be on the podium here at Indianapolis is an amazing feeling. I mean, it would have been nice to be a three-car run right at the finish line, for sure, but from where we started, I think we did a good job. We had to drive a little bit harder early on to get those positions but a 40-lap race here when it's this hot, those Firehawks held up really well at the end there. So it was a real pleasure to drive out there today.

KIMBALL: Like James said, I think a lot of credit to the cars and the tires. It was hot and this place is not easy on tires. The test we were going through tires pretty quickly and here 40 laps the thing was, I ran those last two laps full throttle, top speed in a, tow which is a big testament to the tires and the cars. The whole series does a great job and, you know, James mentioned the lap traffic and I didn't mind it being a two-horse race at the end, I didn't mind that he wasn't there, but I agree that it was unnecessary and unfortunate. Having said that, it's a long season.

Q: Can you both talk a little bit about -- you can hear the crowd outside and you had them on your feet, Charlie, when you had them two wide. Can you talk about running the event? And I know it's not the big show but it pumps things up for the Indy Lights series.

HINCHCLIFFE: The crowd is fantastic. This is far and above what we saw here last year. Last year my motor blew on lap 1, so I didn't get a chance to race here. This is sort of my first race, and to do it, to finish the distance, to see the crowd; and, like I said, if we gave them a good show, that's all the better because we had a blast out there. It's so cool to see sort of the revival of this event, the revival of Indy car and Indy Lights. I mean, this series is going up. The Speedway is in a great position to just be the hallmark event of the year on the racing calendar again. So to be a part of it, it's just awesome.

KIMBALL: Following up what James said, the fans are fantastic. I was at breakfast this morning, and I heard a table next to me talking about the fact they never come out for the 500 but they always come out for Carb Day because of the concert and the race. People call the 500 the big show, but with the 40 laps we just ran as hard as we ran them, I'd venture that we put on a better show.

HINCHCLIFFE: We're the main show. They're a follow-up act, and they're cool with that. (Laughter)

KIMBALL: I mean, we came first, and in racing, first is always the most important, right?

HINCHCLIFFE: If you're not first, you're last. Somebody told me that, I think it was Ricky Bobby. (Laughter)

Q: Charlie, will you talk about running two wide with Wade? It doesn't seem like you're supposed to be able to do that here.

KIMBALL: They say that but I'm not so much for people telling me I can't do anything. It was good. I trust him. He and I train together and I figured that if it came down to it and we had an issue, we could work it out competing in the gym.
It was good. The car would stick. I had a lot of trust, a lot of confidence in the car. It's the best oval car I've ever raced and I knew that with his experience, his being a one-time thing, yes, he didn't have anything to lose but he had everything to gain as well. He was racing for the race win and would race me cleanly.

Q: Easy question: Blood sugar before and after.

KIMBALL: It was dead flat actually. Hold on, I can tell you the exact number if you want. I got in the car at 180 and got out at 182.

Q: That's pretty good.

KIMBALL: For 45 laps solid sort of tweaked my insulin regime.

Q: (Inaudible).

KIMBALL: Yeah, I obviously didn't work hard enough if that's the case.

HINCHCLIFFE: It's because of the exceptional training we receive at Pit Fit Training.

KIMBALL: Exactly.

HINCHCLIFFE: Shameless plug.

KIMBALL: As Hinch said, you know, all three of us, Wade, Jim Hinchcliffe and myself all train up at Pit Fit with Jim Leo. Racing an oval is not quite as physical as a road course, that sort of affects it less. Having said that, I think it's more emotional and mental draining. So I'll sleep well for that tonight, for sure.

MODERATOR: Other questions?

Q: To

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